Paying Attention to the Backstories

Yesterday, I shared that McConnell had admitted on Fox News that he was wrong when he said Obama did not leave a pandemic plan.

First, McConnell made this statement that the Obama administration did not leave a plan at a campaign event in which he appeared alongside of Lara Trump, Trump’s daughter. So, keep in mind the audience and that these events are similar to Trump’s rallies and also places where Trump has never been too concerned with being truthful. I will suggest that McConnell had no concern about being truthful at this event and deliberately lied for the benefit of the audience.

Secondly, this whole discussion of the existence of a pandemic plan and also a group charged with its implementation and use was in the news at least a month ago, and early on in this pandemic. It was reported then that the plan not only existed but that in the transition period between the Obama administration and the new Trump administration, the Obama team tried to introduce the plan to the Trump people and also provide some guidance/help with the possibility of a pandemic.

Another group of epidemiologists existed whose responsibility was to give the U.S. and the CDC advance warning of a potential pandemic so we could begin to prepare. The Trump administration cut out this advance warning program and also cut out the pandemic team that was part of the National Security Council.

To give credit where credit is due, President Bush (the 2nd Bush) read John M. Barry’s book, “The Great Influenza” sometime in the early 2000s. Bush was traumatized by the history of the 1918 flu pandemic and demanded that we prepare for a similar catastrophe. We started preparing for the eventuality of a pandemic at that time. Obama inherited these preparations and updated them when the Ebola outbreak occurred during his administration. The Obama team also felt the likelihood of a world pandemic was high and upgraded our preparations even more. This was all dismantled by the Trump administration, and not in secret either. This happened in plain sight and with the approval of the Republican-controlled Congress at the time (keep this in mind as this is important to remember too).

By the way, I strongly recommend John Barry’s book, “The Great Influenza.” It is fascinating and scary reading, but we need to know that we have faced this sort of catastrophe before. If you are really interested, there is Barbara Tuchman’s book, “A Distant Mirror,” that is a history of the 14th century and the devastation of the Black Plague. Sorry, I am a history fanatic and this is my reading.

McConnell, if anything is a political animal. He knew all of this. It was not a back page story in the news cycle early on in this pandemic. McConnell deliberately lied to the audience at the campaign event that he attended with Lara Trump, and McConnell also lied to Fox News when he said that he did not know about the pandemic plan left by Obama for the Trump people.

Ironically, this week McConnell made some news when he said, “Obama should keep his mouth shut,” in reference to a comment Obama made about the chaos and incompetence of the Trump administration in fighting this pandemic. I think McConnell should be the one that should keep his mouth shut.

Since the impeachment acquittal, Trump launched a purge of all the possible voices in our Federal government that might be critical or even might raise a flag when inappropriate or illegal conduct is present. This purge started with the inspector general that raised the Ukraine issue to the level of inquiry. Others have been walked out the door since and yesterday, the inspector general in the State Dept. was fired. He had been looking into some of Pompeo’s actions. Pay attention to this purge going on throughout the Federal government. Trump has installed officials in all of the federal agencies and their job is to assess the loyalty of the people working in all of the federal agencies. This has NEVER happened before in our history. This is a big story, and very ominous as well.

I bring this up because we need to be watching the backstories all the time with the Trump administration. The headlines often are smokescreens for the real nefarious work going on in the background. Pay attention to these backstories. The piece about the existence of a pandemic plan was a back story about a month or so ago. Now, it surfaces again as part of a lie and an attempt to blame others for the mess the Trump administration has made of fighting the coronavirus.

The other thing, the one constant with these people are the lies. They will lie about the consequential and the inconsequential every day and every chance they get. Lying is their way of breathing. Lately, I have to applaud the news people attending the White House briefings that have resumed after over a year’s absence. The journalists are challenging the Trump administration and calling out lies right there. Trump walked out of a briefing earlier this week when challenged after a testy interaction with a reporter. This needs to happen all the time. I hope the news people continue to bring the fight for the truth to the Trump people and not wait to write about it later in their reporting.

Sorry for the long piece here. I do pay attention and I follow this stuff – can’t help it – an old history and political science major here.

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